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Military History: Home


The reference section is often the best place to start your research, not only for background information but for bibliographies of other sources--especially primary sources. 

Books on military history are in the D 25 area, including:

  • Magill’s Guide to Military History (5 volumes, REF D 25 .M34 2001)
  • Oxford Companion to Military History (REF D 25 .A200 O94 2001, also in Oxford Reference Online)
  • Dictionary of Battles and Sieges (3 vols., REF D 25 .J33 2007)
  • Harper Encyclopedia of Military History (REF D 25 .A200 D8 1993)
  • Encyclopedia of Invasions and Conquests (REF D 25 .A200 D38 2006)
  • Encyclopedia of Prisoners of War and Internment (REF D 25 .A200 E53 2006)

Books on military science are in the U area, naval science in the V, including:

  • International Military and Defense Encyclopedia (6 volumes, REF U 24 .I58 1993)
  • Encyclopedia of the U.S. Military (REF UA 23 .E57 1990)
  • Modern Weapons & Warfare (2 vols., REF UF 500 .W488 2002)
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Maritime History (4 vols., REF VK 15 .O84 2007)
  • Jane’s Fighting Ships 2011-201 (REF VA 40 .J218 2011)

Other reference books that may be useful:

  • Encyclopedia of American Military History (3 vols., REF E 181 .E63 2000)
  • Encyclopedia of the U.S. Military (REF UA 23 .E57 1990)
  • The Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Early American Republic, 1783-1812 (3 vols., REF E 301 .E63 2014)
  • Encyclopedia of the Cold War (5 vols., REF D 840 .E63 2006)
  • Greek Warfare from the Battle of Marathon to the Conquests of Alexander the Great (REF DF 89 .B75 2012)
  • Historical Dictionary of Ancient Egyptian Warfare (REF DT 81 .M677 2000)
  • The Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars (3 vols., REF DC 220 .E53 2006)

We also have reference books on individual wars.  You’ll find more books in the same call number area.

  • The Encyclopedia of North American Colonial Conflicts to 1775 (REF E 181 .E63152008, 3 vols.)
  • Encyclopedia of the American Revolution (2 vols., REF E 208 .E63 2006)
  • The Encyclopedia of the War of 1812 (3 vols., REF E 354 .E53 2012)
  • War of 1812 Eyewitness Accounts:  An Annotated Bibliography (REF Z 1240 .F747 1997)
  • Historical Dictionary of the Civil War (2 vols., REF E 468 .I77 2002)
  • The Civil War Archive (REF E 464 .C455 2000)
  • Defining Documents in American History:  Civil War (1860-1865) (2 vols., REF E 464 .C58 2014)
  • Encyclopedia of World War I (5 vols., REF D 510 .E53 2005)
  • Encyclopedia of World War II (5 vols., REF D 740 .E516 2005)
  • Encyclopedia of World War II in Europe (2 vols., REF D 740 .W677 1999)
  • Encyclopedia of the Korean War (3 vols., REF DS 918 .E533 2000)
  • Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War (REF DS 557.7 .E53 1996)

You may also want to look at books on the regions and periods you’re researching, such as:

  • The Encyclopedia of Ancient History (13 volumes, REF D 54 .E53 2013)
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome (7 vols., REF DE 5 .O95 2010)
  • Dictionary of American History (10 vols., REF E 174 .D522 2003, also available online in GALE Ebooks).

For biographical reference sources, you may want to look at the Biographical Resources section of the  Reference guide.

Reference databases

  • The Gale Virtual Reference Library database provides PDF for several multi-volume reference books, such as the Dictionary of American History (10 volumes) and History in Dispute (21 volumes).


  • The Oxford Reference Online database includes:
    • Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology (3 volumes, 2010)
    • Oxford Companion to Military History (2004)
    • Oxford Companion to American Military History (2004)
    • Oxford Essential Dictionary of the U.S. Military (2002)
    • Oxford Companion to World War II (2014)

Books and E-books

Use the online catalog to find books, e-books,  and DVDs in the Lewis Library.


Subject headings:  Use subject headings to find books specifically on a topic (the “Words or phrase” search is also useful for finding books with a chapter on a topic, but it’s often best to stat with a “Subject” search).   Some subject headings are what you’d expect (“Cold War,” “Korean War”), others aren’t.  Here are a few relevant subject headings; you can click on them to access records of some (not necessarily all) books and e-books on the topic.

Military history.

Military intelligence.
War correspondents.

United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783.
United States -- History -- War of 1812.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865
Spanish-American War, 1898.
World War, 1914-1918.
World War, 1939-1945.
Cold War.
Korean War, 1950-1953.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975.  (some catalog records use Vietnamese Conflict, 1961-1975. )
Persian Gulf War, 1991.
War on Terrorism, 2001-
Iraq War, 2003.


Subject headings may be broken down:

Prisoners of war -- United States -- History -- 18th century.
Prisoners of war -- Confederate States of America -- History.
Prisoners of war -- Japan.
Prisoners of war -- Cuba -- Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.
Prisoners of war -- Abuse of.

Military prisons -- Confederate States of America -- History -- 19th century.

Asymmetric warfare -- United States.
Asymmetric warfare -- Middle East.


Adding “personal narratives” or “sources” in a “Subject” search will sometimes help you find primary sources, for example (click on the links to view sample  titles):

United States -- History -- Revolution, 1775-1783 -- Personal narratives.

United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives, Confederate.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Sources.

World War, 1914-1918 -- Personal narratives.
World War, 1914-1918 -- Sources.

World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal narratives,
World War, 1939-1945 -- Japan -- Sources.

For a more detailed guide on World War II sources, see this page.

Korean War, 1950-1953 -- Personal narratives.

Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Personal narratives.


Sometimes “interviews” or “diaries” will appear as subject terms:

Prisoners of war -- United States -- Diaries.

Holocaust survivors -- Interviews.


Call numbers:  Here are the call number ranges for some topics, if you want to browse the “Stacks” on the lower level (remember that you won’t find e-books on the shelf!):

  • D 25-D 27       military history
  • D 501- D 680  World War I
  • D 732 – D 838 World War II


For American military history:

  • E 181               military history (American)
  • E 182               naval history (American)
  • E 201-298       Revolution, 1775-1783
  • E 351.5-364.9 War of 1812
  • E 461-655       Civil War, 1861-1865 (naval history E 591-600)
  • E 714-735       War of 1898 (Spanish American war)
  • E 745               military history (American, 20th century)


For more detail, see the Library of Congress classifications: 

  • this page for the D range (Europe, Asia, Africa); you can do a “Find” search (Ctrl-F) and search for “military” (there’s a section for each country)
  •  this page for the E range (America)



Selected Books

Use the tabs at the top of the page for books on World War II and the Crusades.

Listed below are just a few of our print books; I hope to add more when time permits.  You’ll find more on these topics with similar call numbers.


Ancient and Medieval

  • Wrightson, Graham.  Combined Arms Warfare in Ancient Greece:  From Homer to Alexander the Great and His Successors.  (call number DF 89 .W75 2019)

  • Billows, Richard A.  Marathon:  How One Battle Changed Western Civilization.  New York:  Overlook Duckworth, 2010.  (DF 225.4 .B55 2010)
  • Cartledge, Paul.  After Thermopylae:  The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars.  Oxford University Press, 2013.  (DF 225.7 .C37 2013)
  • Krentz, Peter.  The Battle of Marathon.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2010.  (DF 225.4 .K74 2010; Appendix A has “Important Ancient Sources on the Battle of Marathon”)
  • Strauss, Barry.  The Battle of Salamis.  (DF 225.6 .S766 2004)
  • Grainger, John D.  Roman Conquests:  Egypt and Judaea.  Published by Pen & Sword Military.  (DT 93 .G73 2013)
  • War and Warfare in Late Antiquity.  (U 35 .W343 2013, 2 vols.; also available as an e-book)
  • Hill, Paul.  The Anglo-Saxons at War, 800-1066.  Pen & Sword Military. (DA 152 .H549 2012)
  • Prestwich, Michael.  A Short History of the Hundred Years War.  (DC 96 .P74 2018)
  • Sumption, Jonathan.  The Hundred Years War.  (DC 96 .S955 1991, 4 volumes)
  • Bradbury, Jim.  The Routledge Companion to Medieval Warfare.  (U 37 .B73 2006)

Revolutionary War

  • A Companion to the American Revolution.  (Blackwell Companion) (E 208 .C677 2000)
  • Documents of the American Revolution, 1770-1783.  (E 203 .G688 1972, 21 volumes)

Civil War

  • Carmichael, Peter S.  War for the Common Soldier:  How Men Thought, Fought, and Survived in Civil War Armies.  (E 607 .C26 2018)
  • Dickey, J.D.  Rising in Flames:  Sherman’s March and the Fight for a New Nation.  (E 476.99 D535 2018)
  • Gresham, Leroy Wiley.  The War outside My Window:  The Civil War Diary of LeRoy Wiley Gresham, 1860-1865.  (E 605 .C94 2018) 
  • Hess, Earl J.  Fighting for Atlanta:  Tactics, Terrain, and Trenches in the Civil War.  Chapel Hill:  Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2018.  (E 476.7 .H4654 2018)
  • Sherman’s Civil War:  Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865.  (E 467.1 .S555 A4 1999)
  • Wetherington, Mark V.  Plain Folk’s Fight:  The Civil War and Reconstruction in Piney Woods, Georgia.  (E 559 .W48 2005, also available as e-book)
  • Williams, David.  Georgia’s Civil War:  Conflict on the Home Front.  (E 599 .W55 2017)
  • E-book:  A Documentary History of the American Civil War Era.  Ed. Thomas C. Mackey.   University of Tennessee Press, 2014.  4 volumes (links:  vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, vol. 4)

World War I

  • A Companion to World War I.  Ed. John Horne.  (Blackwell Companion) (D 521 .C5835 2010)
  • The American South and the Great War, 1914–1924.  Ed. Matthew L. Downs and M. Ryan Ford.  (F 215 .A43 2018)
  • Greenhalgh, Elizabeth.  The French Army and the First World War.  (D 548 .G74 2014)
  • Halpern, Paul G.  A Naval History of World War I.  (D 580 .H344 1994)
  • Leonard, Jörn.  Pandora’s Box:  A History of the First World War.  (D 521 .L36513 2018)
  • Macmillan, Margaret.  The War That Ended Peace.   (D 511 .M527 2013)
  • Neiberg, Michael S.  Fighting the Great War:  A Global History.  Harvard University Press. (D 521 .N44 2005)
  • Porter, Steward, Citizen:  An African American’s Memoir of World War I.  Ed. Pellom McDaniels IIII.  (D 639 .N4 C48 2017)
  • Sondhaus, Lawrence.  German Submarine Warfare in World War I.  (D 591 .S66 2017)
  • Wagner, Margaret E.  America and the Great War (A Library of Congress Illustrated History).  (D 570 .W34 2016)
  • E-book (click on the title):  Howard, Michael.  The First World War:  A Very Short Introduction.  Oxford University Press, 2007.

Cold War

  • The Cambridge History of the Cold War.  (D 842 .C295 2010, 3 volumes)
  • Black, Jeremy.  The Cold War:  A Military History.  (D 842.2 .B55 2015)
  • Parrish, Thomas.  Berlin in the Balance, 1945-1949:  The Blockade, the Airlift, the First Major Battle of the Cold War.  (DD 881 .P27 1998)
  • Service, Robert.  End of the Cold War, 1985-1991. (D 843 .S429 2015)
  • Trauschweizer, Ingo.  The Cold War U.S. Army:  Building Deterrence for Limited War.  (UA 26 .E9 T73 2008)

Vietnam War

  • Adas, Michael.  Everyman in Vietnam:  A Soldier’s Journey into the Quagmire.  (DS 557.7 A435 2018)
  • Asselin, Pierre.  Vietnam’s American War: A History.  Cambridge University Press.  (DS 557.7 .A86 2018)
  • A Companion to the Vietnam War.  (Blackwell Companion) (DS 558 .C666 2002)
  • Lawrence, Mark Atwood.  The Vietnam War:  A Concise International History.  Oxford University Press.  (DS 557.7 .L378 2008)
  • Ward,, Geoffrey C. and Jen Burns.  The Vietnam War.  (DS 557.7 W368 2017; companion volume to the documentary, which is on the upper level, DVD DS 557.7 .V542 2017)

Naval Warfare

  • Rose, Lisle A.  Power at Sea.  (VA 10 .R75 2007, 3 vols.)
  • Parrish, Thomas.  The Submarine:  A History.  (V 857 .P377 2004)
  • Showell, Jak Mallmann.  The U-Boat Century:  German Submarine Warfare, 1906-2006.  (V 859 .G3 S499 2006)
  • Great American Naval Battles.  (E 182 .G766 1998)
  • Symonds, Craig L.  Decision at Sea:  Five Naval Battles That Shaped American History.  (E 182 .S995 2002)


  • The Cambridge History of War.  Volume IV:  War and the Modern World.  (DA 431 .C366 2012)
  • Glatthaar, Joseph T.  The American Military:  A Concise History.  (UA 23 .G638 2018)
  • The Encyclopedia of Weapons from World War II to the Present Day.  (UF 500 .E55 2006)
  • War Letters:  Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars.  (E 181 .W273 2001)
  • Fields of Conflict:  Battlefield Archaeology from the Roman Empire to the Korean War.  (D 25.5 .F53 2007, 2 vols.)
  • Barany, Zoltan.  How Armies Respond to Revolutions and Why.  (UA 11 .B29 2016)
  • Understanding the U.S. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  (DS 79.76 .U5323 2015)


Use GALILEO databases to find journal, magazine, and newspaper articles.  The “DISCOVER” search box on the library home page is useful for some topics, but for scholarly sources in History, you’ll usually be better off starting with the databases listed below, then trying the “DISCOVER” search in case any good articles slipped through the cracks.

To access a specific database, select “Search Databases A-Z” on the library home page; or simply use the links below.

We have a “Military Database,” which should help for some topics (e.g. strategy), but probably the most useful databases will be “America: History & Life” for the U.S. and "Historical Abstracts" for other countries.  (For most U.S. wars other than the Civil War, especially World War I and World War II, you’ll probably want to use both.)


Some recommended databases, with links, for journals and some magazines:

  • Historical Abstracts – excellent database for world history since 1450 (has some articles on ancient history)
  • America: History & Life – excellent for the U.S. and Canada
  • JSTOR – scholarly journals in many disciplines; see below for tips on using JSTOR
  • Military Database (ProQuest)
  • History Reference Center
  • Academic Search Complete – full text for journals in many disciplines and  some news magazines (Time Magazine since 1923, other magazines since the 1990s)
  • Reader’s Guide Retrospective – magazine articles from 1890 to 1982 (most databases don’t cover magazines before the 1980s).  There isn't much full text in this database, but we have bound volumes of Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, Life etc. on the lower level, and scan them on the main level.  Ask a librarian if you want assistance.


For newspaper articles:


Tips on using JSTOR:

  • Use the Advanced Search, and click the box for “Articles” (unless you want book reviews)
  • Restrict your search to “History” and any other topics that look relevant (e.g., “African American Studies” if you’re researching African Americans in the military)
  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase:  “world war i” (otherwise you may get an article that has the words “war,” “I,” and “world” on different pages)
  • Since JSTOR searches the full text of articles (rather than abstracts or subject headings), you may retrieve articles that mention your search term only once or twice.  To find where and how often your search term appears in the article, access the PDF and use “Ctrl-F.”

Using quotation marks for phrases is also important in other full text databases, such as newspaper databases and ProQuest databases (Military Database, Research Library, etc.).  It’s optional in EBSCO databases.


In EBSCO databases such as Historical Abstracts and America:  History & Life, you’ll be searching the title, subject terms, and abstracts, not the full text.  For those databases, use single words or short phrases, linked with Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT)—e.g., “civil war AND sherman,” “homefront OR home front.”  If you’d like assistance in using these, ask a librarian, or see our guides on Boolean operators and database searching.

  • If you use these databases, click the “Peer Reviewed” box if you want to restrict your search to scholarly journals.


If you have a citation for an article from a bibliography, use our Journal Locator database to determine if we have full text for it.  Our databases have full text for several peer-reviewed journals on military history, including the following (Historical Abstracts and America History & Life will provide links to full text for most of these):

  • Military History (full text for 1996-present; we also have hard copies for March 2014-Jan. 2016)
  • Journal of Military History (1989-present)
  • Military History of the West (Dec. 2009-present)
  • Journal of Military Ethics (2003 to 18 months ago)
  • Defence Studies (2001 to 18 months ago)
  • Defence Science Journal (1989-present, in Military Database)
  • International Security (1976-present)
  • Journal of Strategic Security (2008-present, in Military Database)
  • Strategic Studies Quarterly (2007-present; open access available here)
  • Advances in Military Technology (June 2011-present)
  • Airpower Journal (1990-1999)
  • Air & Space Power Journal (1996-present)
  • Arms & Armour (2004 to 12 months ago)
  • Armed Forces & Society (1990-2005)
  • Journal of Cold War Studies (1999-present)
  • Civil War History (1955-present)

If you don’t find full text, paste the full citation into an e-mail and send it to the reference librarian.  We may have a hard copy on the shelf; if not, we can order it on interlibrary loan.

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